I'm sure there are people here who run small web development businesses. I am trying to determine the best open-source CRM/project management tool for my business. Note: CRM = Customer Relationship Management.

I need:
- client/company contact management
- event recording
- activity recording
- 'projects' to which I can assign the above.

My best bets are:

I've ruled out:

  • sugarcrm - too much pre-sales, and no post-sales/project management
  • vtiger - similar reasons to sugarcrm.com
  • various others - for no good reason :-)

Ultimately something drupal would be great. The event module seems to have potential. I could probably do a little customization of contacts into market segments using taxonomy. I dunno...

Also, I have looked at the civicrm demo but I don't think it's suitable for me to use this. If you think differently then I'd love your comments on this thread:
http://drupal.org/node/40726

Comments

http://xrms.sourceforge.net/ is the best choice for client/company contact management and if it were converted to Drupal, it would be perfect.

XRMS uses ADOdb so it will work with any database. I use other open source tools that also use ADOdb and could be easily modified to share one database. You could then have the open source equivalent to Microsoft's Small Business Server.

Some of those tools have good but proprietary user interfaces, some have only Smarty, and all would benefit from conversion to Drupal. Currently I put up with running each one on a separate Web site as there is little duplication of data between the tools.

Eventually they need to share links to email so I can relate email to specific customers, projects, expenses, and resources. I believe that a future version of Thunderbird will switch to a database for storing mail and that will be the time to link up all the other products to share one database.

Until the day when everything can run on one database, it is easier to run several Web sites or several applications along side of each other on the one Web site without trying to link everything together.

petermoulding.com/web_architect

XRMS looks good from the demo, although I can't get it out of Turkish ;-) so it's a bit of guesswork, but it seems to have good view customisation.

That said, I am having trouble looking at Net Office as well - I can only guess from the reviews and the screenshots.

If XMRS does indeed support multiple database platforms, they're not selling it in the INSTALL file! :-)

You must also have access to a mySQL database for your data.
(Support for other databases are planned in the future, but
mySQL is required for now.)

Anyroads, obviously I've got MySQL at hand so it matters nought.

Replying to put this discussion on my radar. Here's to Drupal entering the CRM/PjM space!

I used XRMS for a project about a year and a half ago.
The screens weren't pretty but it ran like a swiss watch.

Had a minor problem with javascript in the login had me stumped for days.
Their community was helpful in resolving it.

Therese
http://datadesigns.ca

Yes, it is solid. I just wish it gave me more project management features.

subscribing

PunchLineGroup IT makes the point!

subscribing...

I use the free account offered by basecamp.
http://www.basecamphq.com/
If you're still small (like me) it will suit you very well.
If you grow you can scale the application and buy additional services (unlimited projects, https etc..).
I simply have a to-do for each customer - but thats just because I'm cheap. :)
I saw you where thinking of commercial ones as well - if so give it a try - it's pretty cool..
Lior

------
Linnovate - Community Infrastructure Care
lior@linnovate.net - http://www.linnovate.net

Basecamp is worth mentioning. I've seen good reviews. Probably the only thing stopping me trying it is only one project and I can't install it on my own server.

I didn't see this post as I was writing up mine. It looks like we were thinking the same thougths. I'm posting here to hook these two together.

http://drupal.org/node/55920

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
"I would love to change the world,
but they won't give me the source code"
-JG

Well, perdone me, mi engles, but screw netoffice. Nothing worse than a badly done automated installation - gave it two attempts for good measure. Leaves a bad taste that does, same thing happened to me with Typo3.

(Makes one appreciate the tightly managed released of Drupal 4.7)

XRMS, you're next!

Thanks peterx (first reply)

I have installed XRMS and it is nice to use. I cleaned up the activity categories and added "development", "design", "hosting", "admin" and now I can do activities with a start and end date and then print a timesheet to see who I've been working for and how long.

This is aside from the standard CRM functionality of course. And thank goodness it is not overblown like sugarcrm and vtiger.

My wife threatened that she would learn one system only, so I better get it right. Well, I think this is the right one!

Regards
Simon

Hi there,

You may also try www.egroupware.org. They are planing to releasea a new brand version of their groupware suite during this week and it looks a nice match if you are looking for an integrated system based on projects, tasks, timesheets, calendars, etc. + lots of support modules as forums, etc. Also well suited for synchronizing calendar/contact data with other apps like outlook.

Regards,

Iker

I´m still looking for a good CMS, strong in sales force, in cooperation with drupal.
I have tested so far vTiger, Sugarcrm and XRMS. All does´nt fully support a sales process.

How about CiviCRM. Could it be altered to be a sales CRM?

using Drupal 4.7

Try out civic space, it is a drupal 4.6 distribution with CiviCRM already packaged in (with some other modules as well). The main purpose for that package is contact management and donation tracking type issues for Non-Profit Organizations. However, I'm sure it could be easily used for sales as well - though some things may be less intuitive. If you need some really specific thing, you may have to settle for a purchased solution - maybe salesforce.com?

--Ryan

My experimentation with civicspace/civicrm is that it is not generic enough for many other CRM applications. It is built for a specific purpose and does it very well. Lots to be learnt from it, but not by "extending" it IMO.

Hey,

wanted to keep tabs on this thread - plus i wanted to point out another thread where I was trying to get support for something like this. http://drupal.org/node/34425 Definitely interested in what you come up with. I was also trying to figure out a way to do billing via the e-commerce module, but didn't seem to be possible back then and I haven't had a chance to look into it since then.

-Ryan

[Edit] Here are some other related posts
http://drupal.org/node/39912
http://drupal.org/node/51705

The billing services as a stand-alone product is not so far out there. I know it can be done with a little tweaking with the current modules.

Invoicing is a bit sloppy though. Gordon has a great idea of being about to theme emails. If it was me, I'd also like to be able to generate pdf invoices which I'm not sure about.

The eComm 4.7 group has been slamming out code for a new 4.7 module. Proabably be released in a matter of days.

And I'm pretty sure Gordon has a created new PDF invoice, with logo no less. Super cool.

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
"I would love to change the world,
but they won't give me the source code"
-JG

I was working for an associate's company and noticed that he had set up a ticketing system which he advocated (I think it probably this one http://otrs.org, but to be honest the acronym escapes me). OTRS seems to a very complex (or at least capable) system that has more features than I would use (I assume). And if I used it, I'd still have to also install other systems and get them to work together.

So, it occurs to me that what I am after is an intetgrated solution and I'm willing to forego complexity for this. At the same time, other people will have a much grander idea of the perfect solution...

On a related matter, I recently installed the casetracker module in a site and it is a potential ticketing component of a drupal crm.

You might also have a look at www.mantisbt.org. We also tried www.otrs.org for one of our clients.

Daniel F. Kudwien
unleashed mind

Daniel F. Kudwien
unleashed mind

I will have a look at mantis.

So, was OTRS well received by your client?

I think a package that can easily integrate with drupal users database would be good.

----
Darly

----
Darly

please clarify:

- client/company contact management
- event recording
- activity recording
- 'projects' to which I can assign the above.

you can do all these without CRM. Which is why you find all the CRM products irrelevant :-)
CRM is all about customer RELATIONSHIP management.

Perhaps (stretching even this with the above reqs) you wish to include Customer Care - but I get the feeling this thread is really about Contact Management coupled with Project Management (both of which may record activities/events/tasks depending on which domain you are in).

I only ask becuase I am interested in a wider remit.

Incidentally why do you need Drupal for this; or are you simply thinking of using it as a glue to stick things together: or are you using the Drupal forum?

A wholesale business with a small number of large customers might treat CRM as their main priority especially if they sell generic products you can buy anywhere. Apple is good at this and keeps their ipod on sale in the most important retail sites, the high volume shops, despite selling equipment that is primitive and overpriced. Their competitors have lower prices and modern technology but sell to anyone and end up in thousands of stores that sell very little.

An architect might have only 10 customers and might work on each project for a year or more. The architect's project management skill might become the most important part of the relationship. In the computer industry a lot of companies have switched from providing product to providing installation and maintenance services because those extra services are more profitable. Imagine how easy the change would be if all their applications were available as Drupal modules and they could just plug in each one as needed with all of them sharing the same customer database.

A retail business might have 100 million customers who buy a two dollar subscription once per year. You manage those relationships through email newsletters, by providing forums and other forms of contact that are self managing and very low cost per customer. Almost everything you need is already available as Drupal plug in modules and more modules arrive every month.

Big companies buy CRM from SAP then have to buy all their other applications from SAP to share the one set of data. I think the current rule of thumb is $100,000 for the first SAP module plus $1,000,000 to get it working then $100,000 for the second SAP module plus $1,000,000 to get it working plus $1,000,000 to get it working with the first module.

If Drupal costs only $30 per month for broadband access to read the documentation, download security updates and extra modules then you could use Drupal for 3,000 years before it cost as much as an entry level SAP module.

In 3,000 years we will no longer need Drupal but it is nice to know it will be available at nearly zero cost until we evolve past the Web. (For more details about the results of 3,000 years of genetic engineering, see the 2002 version of the Time Machine, especially the Über-Morlock (Jeremy Irons enhanced with Intel Duo Core technology).)

petermoulding.com/web_architect

I think the term "Customer Relationship Management" is a very simplistic way to look at CRM these days. When I was working for a pharma sales & marketing department, the leading CRM's included many marketing analysis and campaign-oriented features.

Analogy: if I was manufacturing a cell phone, I would have to put a camera in it, otherwise I'm not going to sell any. Your comment would be akin to "but you make phones, why are you talking about cameras!" :-)

So yes, the idea is "customer relationship management" at the core, but there are certain bells and whistles required to make the package complete. For a web services company, this includes forum and project management tools.

Re: why drupal? Drupal is my preferred solution to everything. ;-)

"....the leading CRM's included many marketing analysis and campaign-oriented features.."

Yes, they would; Analytics are a recognised part of CRM.

I did not really want to start a war on the definition of CRM (at least I think I didn't), I was just pointing out that looking at CRM for the above (stated) requirements 'might' be the wrong starting point.

regards

No wars here. Can you discuss the approach you'd take to looking at CRM? I am not settled on any approach and am quite willing to chew the fat on this one.

For the project management side, you might want to check out activeCollab.

From the home page:

activeCollab is an easy to use, web based, open source collaboration and project management tool. Set up an environment where you, your team and your clients can collaborate on active projects using a set of simple, functional tools.

Cheers,

Bill

-------
http://www.funnymonkey.com
Tools for Teachers

"Currently only alpha version of activeCollab is available"
Is anyone using it for multiple large projects and multiple users each working on several projects?

petermoulding.com/web_architect

Hi,

I currently use activeCollab 0.6 for our team, the uptake by non computer friendly people has been slow.

The user interface is common to basecamp, simple and friendly.

We currently have 30 odd projects on the go with activeCollab.

One thing I like is the ability to invite 'partners' to participate in projects.

I hope this helps.

Russ

---
Russ @ Maintenance Essentials

Well, here I go. I've decided to build up slowly using Drupal and the following simple modules: Light CRM and Timesheet.

These cover my most basic immediate needs: to have someone working an issues queue for me. I am still using XRMS at the moment. None of the above provides me with comprehensive contact management. We'll see how things go!

I have dropped Light CRM because it didn't really do what I expected. It is simply a way to add comments to a user (you see the comments in the profile) and there is some emailing that happens. It works without extra tables, and it seems alright for that, but I think I need something more node based.

Now I'm looking at casetracker again. Casetracker has come a looong way since I last looked at it. I am also really glad to see that certain design decisions have been made. But basically I'm hooked on this because it has so many excellent contributors.

I'm also am trying pontomail. I like the idea of the customer being able to email for support, but I don't like the idea of the emails being automatically converted into anything. Pontomail, being a drupal mail client, will let someone view emails and reply in an old fashioned kind of way, or convert the email to a case and assign it to someone else.

So, that's three major modules which just need a little bug fixing and nailing together. All I want now is a nice simple way to profile the users - with a different type of profile for each of the major roles (client, support, talent).

Hmm - I wonder how far I've drifted from my original post.

Hi,

Did you try ]project-open[?

It's got quite a large number of packages available, including some financial stuff particularly designed (easy!) for small and smallest companies.

Cheers,
Frank

Project-open uses TCL instead of PHP, AOLserver instead of Apache, PostgreSQL but not MySQL. I stopped there before looking for Web ecommerce.

I am not going to look at anything other than Apache because I already have everything else running under Apache.

If project-open was written in PHP, I could easily connect ecommerce or anything else that is missing. TCL is out.

petermoulding.com/web_architect

there's a new sugar on drupal
http://www.sugarforge.org/projects/sugarondrupal/

i haven't tried it. any updates from people who posted here?

Hi sime,

Have you come up with anything that works for you and your business? Did you go with any of the suggestions above?

Cheers,
caign

--
Mark Matuschka
www.glodigital.com.au

I've just rebuilt imy support site in D5. CCK with casetracker is awesome, but I'll probably have to write a custom node_access.

Literally I have about 5 node types defining different entities (customer profile, hosting profile, casetracker project extended further with cck). And I'm using a number of nodereference and userreference fields to tie things together.

I really believe my specific solution wouldn't translate, the flexibility is very important.

Interesting, thanks for the info.

--
Mark Matuschka
www.glodigital.com.au

You might also want to check out ProjectPier. It is being actively developed and they just released v0.8. It is a fork of the old activeCollab code. ActiveCollab have since closed the code and become a commercial product, but ProjectPier will be an opensource project. http://www.projectpier.org

--Ryan
www.ryancross.com
www.jamescrossinc.com

ProjectPier looks interesting.... Still not quite right, but another interesting solution

Subscribing.

I am also very interested in this.
I've been thinking of modifying Drupal do to this.

All you really need is to make nodes private between the user and support... right ?

Marcel

Website Traffic Reseller
How To tutorials you need

http://goingtochina.com - I love China - Chinese Tourism and Business
http://01Business.com - Business 2 Business Directory

Marcel, comes down to taste I think.

For example, I'm not using a specific CRM solution (tweaking Drupal/CCK is enough for me). However I am using case_tracker for issue tracking, because it is a nice fit for my needs.

Another example: I have a client who simply uses a Drupal forum for project issue tracking!

Subscribing. Please ignore this post.

Subscribing.

A project management module would be great.

OK, OK, after coming across this thread for the third time in over a year I'll finally subscribe to it.

Possibly relevant links:

http://drupal.org/node/125225
http://groups.drupal.org/projectmanagement

Well congrats, you are definitely better than I am. Now I am barely projecting and integrated solution for my business. I have been told that a virtual office would be perfect for what I need. I would sure like to know more about handling a SPAM DELETED.

I'm not sure how that is relevant for this discussion. Also seems odd that you're worried about business requirements in the UK when your profile says your from Belgium. Spam?

--Ryan
www.ryancross.com
www.jamescrossinc.com

Yup, spam.

I spent three months on this recently, trying many of the same sugar crm, vtiger and finally decided to go to salesforce.com. What I found is that CRM isn't as mature as content management systems. Opensource hasn't caught up to salesforce.com. Sugar CRM while opensource isnt really opensource like Drupal. The owners of sugar crm chose opensource route a method of marketing and with the hopes of building a community. If any one finds something that can compete with salesforce, let me know.

-------------

Joe Online Business Systems

Hi there,

How about this one .. http://crm.zoho.com/

Greets,
Tom

Call me via Skype

subscribing :D

same here

For CRM, CCK and views is still proving more than enough. I am still using casetracker for tracking. I've just done an alpha of CT Services. This is allow me to put an issues queue embedded in my client's website (using a very thin client layer and no distributed data storage).

using Drupal as my CRM solution. Therefor I've started a new project here. Feel free to join in!

subscribe

subscribing

________________
Live fast die young

We got to our 4th iteration of a support site and made some pretty major changes. cck features just as strongly, and we've dropped casetracker.

Wanting customers to log in suddenly made security much more important. I had to write a custom node access module to handle crazy things like if a task is created allow the task's project's client's partner's node's referenced user to be able to see it. It would be tough to write a generic module manage this with a diverse content model that is tied together with nodereference and usereference fields

What I can imagine is someone creating a distribution of their support/crm and offering support for it. You couldn't let customers screw around with some fields for example because it would all flop. But you could in theory offer other Drupal benefits.

An ideal crm is a whole site, not a module. I'm guessing acquia are coming to the same conclusion.

For interest sake I'm also phasing out customer info and now I export data from MYOB and into custom tables in the same database that the support site lives in, which allows us to display this data and not double-handle it. This means I can leave the accounting package well alone, and not obstruct the bookkeeper.

--------
Em Space is Open

Sounds interesting, do you have a link we could look at?

Dan

www.lightbeingcreations.co.uk
A Human Experience

Not to the support site unfortunately, it's a private system. I might blog about the node access thing eventually. Although, if you mean the MYOB thing it's already here.

I'm considering using Drupal for a Networking Solutions company (hosting, business class internet, etc). The client has requested that trouble tickets be easily converted into invoices for billable hours. After MUCH research, there are only a few that look really viable. One was ]project-open[, another was Citrus. Has anyone successfully integrated these into Drupal? Yes, I could write a module to do this, but I'd rather not re-invent the wheel if I can avoid it.

Suggestions?

Storm has tickets and invoices. Worth a look.

STORM unfortunately has not withstood time by the looks of it, unless it finds a new maintainer.

I was hoping that Storm might be the one, but I think you might be right.

It needs a lot of work to get up to scratch, and if it were under active development it might be okay to use it.

But alas the search continues....

JayKayAu

Storm is still going - but as of the Drupal 7 version, it is now called Drupal PM.

There are almost 700 users across the Drupal 6 and Drupal 7 versions, and it is back under active development.

I was recently demoed a beta version of a new CRM and PPM tool that is perfect for small businesses. My company is currently participating in the beta trial of the application and so far our business is running smoothly.

It seems like this could go widespread beta launch soon or possibly full lunch. I guess keep your eyes open. I may also see if I can post an URL here and plug the company. Right now they don't want to. lol.

I'm trying out ProjectPier. The default theme is not attractive but others are included. I hope to use it for the same needs as the original thread post above, I'll post my findings here once I've had some time to try things out.

Have you considered Open Atrium? It works out of the box and it's pretty sweet. It's got a lot of features and it's fantastic. I haven't totally decided, but I think I'm going to use it as my CRM.

Have recently installed that and will find some time to give it a proper evaluation.

Is it able to manage emails and/or integrate with Thunderbird or other email clients?

Hey guys,

Just wanted to give my piece on Open Atrium. It's definitely a great tool (though still in development and getting the bugs worked out) with a lot of potential for growth and customization. The PMing tools are pretty basic, but they do a good job for most small and medium sized businesses without incredibly complex workflow management. There isn't a lot of built-in CRM functionality other than document sharing and case tracking, but it's a pretty straightforward process to add additional tools.

We're actually working on a basic CRM module for Open Atrium, called Simple CRM, that adds additional account and contact tracking. It's still got a ways to go - we need to add lead tracking, categories for businesses, and some better interface options for adding and assigning contacts to accounts - but the functionality is there and we're improving it pretty regularly. Go ahead and take a look and see if it helps - we'd love to get some feedback and see some improvements to help push the project along!

http://www.empoweredby.net/project/simple-crm

Would Storm + Simple CRM work without duplicating data? Storm now has nice time recording block. Some reporting is lacking. Project, Task, etc works well. Could use expanded Customer, role, person from CRM. What modules provide the project management in Open Atrium? Could your Simple CRM work with other project management tools? With Storm?

Absolutely should not prove a problem. In our current dev snapshot of Simple CRM it's already integrating with our case tracking, so there's no reason it should have any trouble on the Storm front. You can pretty much tie anything together in Open Atrium.

the link is dead. what happend to simple-crm? is it obsolete in front of the dev of storm?

subscribe

greetings from Berlin, Germany

Subscribing...
This has to be the longest search for a less-than-two-off product.
I suppose since CRM is pretty much a case by case basis, it's kind of hard to develop a non-monolithic solution.

http://www.retaggr.com/AddMe/Adarro
Click to see all my profiles on the web"

Hi sime,

After long search to similar request, I came to your post,
I'm wondering if you could share with me your final solution, you said that XRMS is what you used to build your solution, is it that all, or you have found more..

I'm looking for:
- Client/company contact management
- Users/contact Management, assign contact to companies, and companies to contacts.
- Event recording
- Activity recording
- 'Projects' to which I can assign the above.
- Reporting
- Search companies, contacts and projects, full search.
- Any additional features are highly appreciated.

After spending alot of time searching the web, I found a similar solution at this link: https://glasnost21.com I've tried it for a while, and it sounds good, I'm wondering if there is any similar solution now in drupal!!!

Thanks in advance for your help.
Rannam.

Interested in this discussion. Any success here?

Thanks.

Nick

It seems that a combination of Storm (http://drupal.org/project/storm) and Open Atrium (http://drupal.org/project/openatrium) might be the way to go with this sort of thing.

Storm seems to cover most of people's requirements and looks to be developing well and Open Atrium adds extra features and functionality particularly around intranets. I'm sure I've seen somewhere about combining the two fairly successfully.

Subscribing... and going down the same rabbit hole).

Storm looks interesting.

Hi all,
I’ve been following this thread from early on since one of my clients had a requirement for CRM integration. I initially considered pretty much all of the serious open source contenders but found that a) they were overly complex for our requirements b) added significant burden to our production server c) response time was sluggish at best d) Not for profit focus did not align with our requirements (CiviCRM) or e) had very poor integration with Drupal. Those tested included installing and setting up SugarCRM, vTiger, CiviCRM among others.

I then moved onto investigating paid alternatives such as Zoho/Salesforce. Zoho was great however found their emailing component to be lacking. I wanted an email gateway that converts emails into ‘tasks’ (kind of listserv style within the CRM). Onto SalesForce which has very good support and community around it for Drupal, but to get it to integrate required an API key which they only offered at the top tier accounts which made it prohibitively expensive for our purposes (small business).

To answer these two problems I decided to build a Software as a Service (SaaS) to avoid loading up the production server and a simple API to generate and display content directly from within the site if required.

I have opted for the Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) approach for integration and interaction with the CRM.

Inspired by the amazing Gilt Group’s ‘Hummingbird’ application http://vimeo.com/11613517 my aim is to provide a realtime analytics / CRM that lets you feel the heartbeat of your site as it’s being used but also interact with the CRM using simple language to generate customer relationships, leads etc.

I also have a Drupal Module that can simply be dropped in and the API key supplied to capture user history (role granted, expirations, product purchase, friend invitations etc.)

This is currently in testing and and am looking to get in contact with interested parties who would like to trial this. This will help be understand user requirements and test my applications performance under load.

I have a few videos to demonstrate the app at http://www.crmx.org

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3dEUm6Eszg

I posted in this thread initially because I think most of you share the same interest for a small scale CRM that 'just works' and can be integrated within existing Drupal Website with minimum fuss.

Please PM me or follow me on twitter @crmxapp if you’re interested in piloting or discussing further. I will be doing a restricted release to accommodate growth on a first come basis. Watch this space!

Hey interesting post, timl.
I am ready to test and talk about development.

subscribing

I'm David, a PADI Rescue Diver, Web Developer and Pastor. I'm currently building a online service to manage private loans for vendor financing.

Has anybody tried CiviCRM? It is a Drupal specific CRM solution.

Damián

have a look at ecor CRM, it comes as module but alsoas a complete drupal pack whitch is easier to get and ue

Some of the functions are of ecor CRM are:

Manage Contacts (simple contacts, leads, customers)
Individuals and/or Businesses
Financial Status,Files,Next Actions, Notes… and many more
Newsletter with newsletter history
Campaign Details
Connect Contact with Campaign, Producs, CRM Users
Various Reports and Filters
Personal and Public Notes for personal organization
Common library for organization documents
Able to give access to customer for customer specific information
Use Calendar

No changes to Drupal core. View more details about ecorCRM at

http://www.tecorange.com/index.php/download-free-open-source-software/89...

PM for large scale IT Projects. PHP developer (mainly couse i like it!)

My Profile @ globalBiB
http://www.tecorange.com

What are your plans for moving this onto drupal.org and having it hosted here as a distribution?

This would get it a lot more visibility, and make it look a lot more credible.

Storm's D7 version new and buggy, but it looks lightweight enough. What I liked about it was the ability to plug in whatever modules I needed to tailor it to my needs. In a few months it'll probably be a lot better.

Also, Drupal Commons isn't really about CRM, but it does have forums, groups, and document sharing. My thought was Commons as the distro with Storm for case tracking.